GM hit by strike as autoworkers walk out at Ingersoll, Ont. CAMI plant

Members of Unifor local 88 hit the picket line outside the GM assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont. AM980

The General Motors plant in Ingersoll, Ont., has been hit by a strike.

Members of Unifor local 88 walked out Sunday at 10:59 p.m. when negotiators for the union and the automaker failed to come to terms on a new agreement.

The union said the workers hit the picket lines after GM failed to address a key job security issue at the CAMI assembly plant where it produces the Chevrolet Equinox.

The union wants General Motors to declare the plant a lead producer of the Equinox after losing production of the GMC Terrain to a Mexican plant that resulted in 600 job layoffs earlier this year.

“We know what our membership is looking for and we’ll hold tight with those demands,” said Unifor local 88 president Dan Borthwick.

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“We’ll go back to the table when the company is willing to provide a resolution that we believe is a fair and equitable agreement for our membership and it must contain a product letter.”

General Motors said negotiators made progress on several issues over the past weeks and is disappointed a new agreement could not be reached.

“We encourage Unifor to resume negotiations and to continue working together to secure a competitive agreement,” wrote GM Canada in a brief statement.

Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, said the negotiations should’ve been straightforward given that new contracts were settled last year between Unifor and the Detroit 3 automakers.

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“I don’t think the stalled contract talks have anything to do with salaries, benefits, things of that nature. It all has to do with guarantees about future employment,” said Faria.

In August, workers voted 99.8 per cent in favour of striking if a new deal wasn’t reached.

This is the first strike at a GM-owned plant in Canada in over 20 years.

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